Open Up

Some people will tell you, you’re not enough, not worthy.

They are wrong.

You are beautiful. You are good enough.

Open up. Be vulnerable, even if you get hurt. Don’t sign yourself up for getting hurt. But don’t close yourself off from everything real because it risks the sting of a broken heart.

You have an undeniable boatload of potential.

You are eons of life stuffed into a small carry on that people want to stuff in a box and ignore. They’re afraid you’re brilliant.

Be brilliant. Be you.

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What Do You Want?

I don’t want to be someone who, at the end of their life, regrets not having lived.

I don’t want to go to my grave filled with shame and guilt and woe.

I don’t want to live my life as a woman who allows her challenges and demons to decide her mood and daily choices.

I don’t want each day to be filled with rigid rules created by societal judgy-ness, resentment, and jealousy.

I want to be able to breathe. To feel my own two feet on the ground and know they and my Higher Power can and will support me – if I trust, believe, have faith, if I have hope. Not just in God but in myself.

I often forget about that part.

To believe in myself.

We can wake up and, instead of dreading the coming day, choose joy. Hope.

We can take responsibility for how we feel and how we shape our lives.

This seems overwhelming at times. But baby steps are how we win at every day, every moment.

We are strong enough.

We are good enough.

We can make simple changes in habitual thinking patterns, morning routines, after-work routines, relationships (with others and ourselves), our self image, and so on.

I want so much more out of life.

And so it’s up to me to do something constructive about that. To work toward it.

Today, I hope you know this isn’t a pointless existence. That the humdrum bustle and stress, the rat race and cruel jokes of fate – they aren’t all there is.

As Walt Whitman said,

“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself; I am large — I contain multitudes.”

We are so much more. We can have so much more.

Our potential for joy and motivation, change and growth in a direction we crave – what we truly desire – it is lying dormant, waiting for our embrace.

I choose more.

What about you? What choices are you making? Because we mustn’t forget that not choosing, is a choice.

Love Letter

Whatever you feel you cannot overcome, you can.

Whatever you feel you can’t survive, you will.

Whatever you feel makes you weak, can make you strong.

Whatever you fear makes you unlovable, makes you human and relatable.

Whatever challenge in your life feels like it will never end, it will.

Whatever or whoever has left you feeling empty and hopeless and broken and incapable of picking yourself back up so that you can keep going… it doesn’t matter what or who it is, they cannot win. Because you are so much more than who you were yesterday, then what you feel in this moment. You are so much more than your fears for tomorrow and the anxieties that you wake up to.

It does matter how afraid you are. How filled with worry you are. How much pressure you feel. It does matter that you feel terrified to fail, to let someone down, to let yourself down. It does matter that you feel alone or empty or broken.

Everything you feel matters.

But what you feel is what you feel. Your emotions are not your identity.

Do you notice yourself thinking, “I am angry”? That’s not accurate. You are who you are. You feel anger. That anger does not define you.

So when you feel broken. You are not broken. You are simply resting and recovering and grieving and preparing. You are growing stronger, gaining new experience, learning what does not work, building an extra layer of skin.

Every time you feel like you cannot keep going, you can.

I am not saying it will be easy. I am not saying there are any magic words that will take all the pain away and make you feel strong and in control and “all together”.

What I’m saying is, stay true to yourself. If you feel exhausted, you have the right to feel exhausted. Allow yourself to feel that. But it doesn’t define who you are. It’s simply defines what you’re in the process of overcoming.

Do you ever take a look at what you’ve already overcome? At the situations and relationships and challenges in life that you thought were impossible or would never end? You’re here now. You overcame them. They ended.

You can do this.

You can fight for the life, the job, the relationships, the identity you want.

But you have to believe you deserve it. I’m here to tell you that you do. You deserve all the beauty this world has to offer you.

But you also deserve all the suffering it has to offer to you. Because there’s no way for us to get strong if there is no pain involved. There is no growth if some part of us does not grow old and stagnant and die.

There is no rebirth if part of us doesn’t die first.

The pain will end. You will continue to get stronger. You can find a way to navigate this life and still enjoy it.

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when you get lost

when you get lost, pick up a pen, a pencil, your phone, keyboard, paintbrush, chisel, hammer, loudspeaker, break open your chest and rip your heart out.

whisper to it scream why you’re still here why you will not give up how you are too stubborn to just die you are too glorious to accept this misery this lack of life.

force your heart back in refuse it’s radio silence, sew yourself back up, one foot in front of the other into the garage, hook yourself up to the jumper cables and step behind the curtain, take control of the command center hijack the speaker system, scream like you mean it until your neighbors believe it.

dig up all your broken bones, peel off your empty dead skin, collect the blood and hours of secret tears, chew it up spit it out, push the pads on remove all the metal, stand

CLEAR!

bring it to life, fashion it into rope, make an incision, tie it to your gut find your way home, crawl back into who you knew you were always meant to be who you want need to be, because this drowning in a walking flatline only ends one way.

you don’t need advice until you know where you’re headed.

the man on the moon doesn’t know, put a glass to your ribs and listen, you do.

pick up an ax, stalk the brokenness out back to the post you’ve been chained to, throw the strongest link on the chopping block and SAY CHEESE annihilate them.

take a flamethrower to your slave masters, use their ashes to create your own garden because you can feed yourself.

this is about you, sit in the fire and when you open your eyes push magic through your veins like electricity, a closed door cannot stop your flames.

and if you’re feeling cold, warm yourself with the licking of lashings scarring your insides where no one can touch you, make it all better.

make it all better.

you’re going to burn. burn true. heat cities. grow multitudes. create mammoth atoms to spin within your own sphere, always pulling you, holding you home.

 

By Daphne Shadows

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Becoming A Child

When I have kids, I want to read them Winnie the Pooh, Doctor Seuss, and laugh at Garfield and Snoopy cartoons.
I want them to watch Scooby-Doo and Looney Tunes reruns.

I want the books now. To read them now.
How is it that these children’s stories have so much insight?
Lessons we must relearn once we’re old enough to remember the wisdom of children.

Why do we discount the childlike wonder? As if the childish behavior makes it null and void.
It doesn’t.
It gives us the strength to grow into patience and joy and empathy as we focus on the childlike. As we purge ourselves of the childishness.

I want to discover how to become a child so that by the time I have children, I am a good person. A good parent. A good guide for a little life. The real version of myself, truly living. For myself and the people in my life.

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Find Your Wise

Okay, not wise.

Why.

*eye roll*

Forgive a goofy writer her wordplay.

*wink*

 

We’re pretty familiar with a situation like the following:

A person tells you how great you are.

You don’t believe them.

Said person is then miffed as to why you don’t believe them. Why can’t you see how awesome you are, they wonder.

 

Most of us have been on one end of this conversation. Many have been on both sides.

We’re living in a world where we hear things like the following much too often:

They kept texting her to kill herself, so she did.

He couldn’t make the pain stop any other way, so he jumped.

She buys all that stuff for the rush of feel-good chemicals.

He buys all that makeup because he thinks he’s ugly.

She won’t marry him because she thinks she’s too fat to be loved.

 

I hear all the time that my parents’ generation has a hard time believing in things like anxiety, depression, mood disorders of all sorts, and suicide rates.

I’m not here to figure out why suicide and depression and things of the like are on the rise. I’m not here to argue about what we need to do in order to stop them.

I’m here today to offer some insights on self-hate and what to do when you find yourself suffering from it.

 

If we are ever to stop allowing self-hate to color our daily behaviors, thoughts, motivations, etc., we first must figure out why we treat ourselves this way.

 

Why do we tell ourselves we’re fat, ugly, not tall enough, not skilled enough, that everything we’ve done is trash?

Why do we constantly talk to ourselves in our minds like we’re not worthy of love, respect, compassion, patience, etc?

 

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Our self-commentary can turn deadly. We know that.

So why do we do it?

The answers vary from person to person, year to year.

Perhaps we grew up in a not so great family situation.

Maybe the shouts of the plastic society we live in got to us.

Possibly something traumatic happened and we learned (incorrectly) that we were wrong, bad, or not enough.

There are an endless amount of variables and often times we find that there isn’t just one reason we treat ourselves so unkindly.

But we need to be willing to poke at ourselves, to peel back the painful layers of low self-esteem, low self-confidence, cruelty to self, and simple self-hatred, and pick at the reasons behind them.

If not, we’re not going to find the answers we need to move forward.

 

Now, don’t expect these answers to be logical.

More than likely, we’ll find our “why”s are emotional. Rooted in emotionally painful experiences, situations, upbringings, conditioned behaviors, and so on.

Don’t go looking for reasonable answers. Go looking for the truth.

 

I’d challenge you to write it out as you go.

Why do I treat myself this way?

Write down the reasons. Talk them out with someone you trust.

Do they seem less realistic now that you’ve shined the light of day on them?

I certainly hope so.

 

Accept that these are your reasons. That you’ve allowed these things to define you and the way you think about and talk to yourself.

You don’t have to approve of these truths.

Simply accept that they are.

 

Now congratulate yourself!

It’s insanely hard to look at these things!

But you are. You’re trying. That’s what matters, what counts.

We can’t pull out a weed and expect it to stay gone if we leave the roots.

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How to Live

I’ve been shoved under the impression that if I felt emotion, became emotional for any reason, even if I was completely justified, I had reason to be embarrassed, ashamed.

Stupid, right?

Pretty damn.

 

Seeds + Water = Blossom. Water = Emotion.
Seeds + Water = Blossom. Water = Emotion.

 

You’re born. You exist.

And what is the point of existing, again?

To live.

How do you live? For starters, you cannot merely ‘exist’ if you want to live. You have to really live your life.

So where’s the how-to -manual?

There isn’t one. You just have to live. Day by day, heartbeat by heartbeat. And its bloody hard.

Its centered around one thing. You. And not the superficial you that you present the world.

What’s inside you? What you feel, what you desire, what gets you out of bed smiling and apprehensive and motivated in the morning. It’s that twinge of happiness inside and comforting excitement that zings through you as you think about what you’re about to do, where you’re going, why your day has meaning to you, purpose.

 

Life is hard. Life sucks.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I got it. I get it better than most. I’m living it. I’m twenty-one years old and I’m more jaded and realistic than people twice my age.

But I’m also optimistic, stubborn, idealistic, driven, a dreamer, and persistent. I know what I want and I cling to that. I hold tight when everything’s gone to hell and back and checked back in with its not-so-seasonal-pass. I smile. Regardless.

And that’s a pretty good way not to lose yourself. Don’t let go of those deeply imbedded desires, dreams, needs, wants, those things which you know make you – you. They define you, drive you. And they only go away if you burry them, and even then, they’re still inside you, buried – sure, but there nonetheless.

Ignore a wound, it festers. Ignore who you are, and the results will be more deadly. You’ll exist. But you will never live.

 

Balance. It's helpful. Get some.
Balance. It’s helpful. Get some.

 

Find your balance. Don’t be overemotional or let your emotions rule you. But don’t smother them either. Live your life. It’s kind of pointless if you’re wasting your breath. Lungs only work so long. Everyone dies. I want to live before it’s my time to shake hands with death.

 

If you’re ashamed of being healthily emotional, you might as well be ashamed of being human. Lemmings are so much more agreeable.

 

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.

– Oscar Wilde

 

It’s really freaking hard to live!

You have to fight tooth and nail to ask yourself who you are and why and if you’re in accordance with what and who you want to be and where you want to be headed on a daily basis. You have to keep yourself in check. I find being honest with myself about why I’m doing what I’m doing and taking into account what I want and why, is something I have to remind myself to do. I have to remind myself to think about it! It doesn’t occur to me to wonder what I want until I’ve already bypassed the whole thinking part of the situation. Then I’m left wondering, once again, how I allowed myself to become so brainwashed to the point that I never even take into account what I want or how I feel.

Don’t ignore your emotions. Months or even years later you’ll be living in a hotel wondering what you want to do. And you won’t know. You’ll be as emotional as your pillow, stuck, staring between your computer screen and the book you’re reading, wondering when you’re going to figure out what you’re supposed to do now.

You won’t know. You’ll have no direction. Because the you you smothered, won’t really exist any longer. Ironic, isn’t it?

 

Humans are meant to have motivations. Motivation comes from desires. Desires are emotions.

Just saying. I’d rather be myself during a hellish part of my life than to have a crap life and be breathing for absolutely no reasons of my own.

Unless you’re Barbie, life is going to suck, regardless. Doesn’t it make more sense to make sure it’s a life you want to live?

 

Ironically, getting a hold on your emotions gives you clarity, balance.
Ironically, getting a hold on your emotions gives you clarity, balance.